The Entity-Relationship Model

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1 The Entity-Relationship Model Chapter 2 Slides modified by Rasmus Pagh for Database Systems, Fall 2006 IT University of Copenhagen Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 1

2 Today s lecture Data modeling overview. The entity-relationship (ER) data model. ER design choices. Running example: ER modeling case study based on RG exercise 2.6. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 2

3 Database design process Starts with requirements analysis Ends with a (relational) database schema (plus type info, constraints, indexes, triggers,...) Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 3

4 Database design process Starts with requirements analysis Conceptual data modeling - ER model (today) Logical data modeling - relations (next time) Schema refinement, physical design (later in course) Ends with a (relational) database schema (plus type info, constraints, indexes, triggers,...) Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 4

5 Conceptual and logical design Conceptual design: (ER Model is used at this stage.) What are the entities and relationships in the enterprise? What information about these entities and relationships should we store in the database? What are the integrity constraints or business rules that hold? A database `schema in the ER Model can be represented pictorially (ER diagrams). Can map an ER diagram into a logical design, a relational schema. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 5

6 ER Model Basics Entity: Object distinguishable from other objects. Can be physical or abstract. An entity is described (in DB) using a set of attributes. Entity Set: A collection of similar entities. E.g., all employees. ssn name Employees All entities in an entity set have the same set of attributes. (Until we consider ISA hierarchies, anyway!) Each entity set has a (primary) key - one or more attributes that uniquely identify its entities. Each attribute has a domain. In (pure) ER modeling, the domain cannot be sets of any kind (atomicity). Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 6

7 Case study (1/4) All information related to Dane County Airport is to be organized using a DBMS, and you have been hired to design the database.your first task is to organize the information about all the airplanes stationed and maintained at the airport. The relevant information is as follows: Every airplane has a registration number, and each airplane is of a specific model. The airport accommodates a number of airplane models, and each model is identified by a model number (e.g., DC-10) and has a capacity and a weight. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 7

8 name ER Model Basics (Contd.) ssn ssn name since did dname budget subordinate supervisor Employees Employees Works_In Departments Reports_To Relationship: Association among two or more entities. E.g., Attishoo works in Pharmacy department. Relationship Set: Collection of similar relationships. An n-ary relationship set R relates n entity sets E1... En; each relationship in R involves entities e1 E1,..., en En Same entity set could participate in different relationship sets, or in different roles in same set. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 8

9 Key Constraints Consider Works_In: An employee can work in many departments; a dept can have many employees. In contrast, each dept has at most one manager, according to the key constraint on Manages. name ssn since dname did budget Employees Manages Departments 1-to-1 1-to Many Many-to-1 Many-to-Many Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 9

10 Case study (2/4) A number of technicians work at the airport. You need to store the name, SSN, address, phone number, and salary of each technician. Each technician is an expert on one or more plane model(s), and his or her expertise may overlap with that of other technicians. This information about technicians must also be recorded. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 10

11 Participation Constraints Does every department have a manager? If so, this is a participation constraint: the participation of Departments in Manages is said to be total (vs. partial). Every Departments entity must appear in an instance of the Manages relationship. name since dname ssn did budget Employees Manages Departments Works_In since Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 11

12 ISA (`is a ) Hierarchies ssn name As in C++, or other PLs, attributes are inherited. If we declare A ISA B, every A entity is also considered to be a B entity. hourly_wages Employees hours_worked ISA contractid Hourly_Emps Contract_Emps Overlap constraints: Can Joe be an Hourly_Emps as well as a Contract_Emps entity? (Allowed/disallowed) Covering constraints: Does every Employees entity also have to be an Hourly_Emps or a Contract_Emps entity? (Yes/No) Reasons for using ISA: To add descriptive attributes specific to a subclass. To identify entitities that participate in a relationship. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 12

13 Case study (3/4) Traffic controllers must have an annual medical examination. For each traffic controller, you must store the date of the most recent exam. All airport employees (including technicians) belong to a union. You must store the union membership number of each employee. You can assume that each employee is uniquely identified by a social security number. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 13

14 ssn name Aggregation Employees Used when we have to model a relationship involving (entity sets and) a relationship set. Aggregation allows us to treat a relationship set as an entity set for purposes of participation in (other) relationships. pid started_on Projects Monitors pbudget since Sponsors budget Aggregation vs. ternary relationship: Monitors is a distinct relationship, with a descriptive attribute. Also, can say that each sponsorship is monitored by at most one employee. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 14 did until dname Departments

15 Weak Entities A weak entity can be identified uniquely only by considering the primary key of another (owner) entity. Owner entity set and weak entity set must participate in a one-tomany relationship set (one owner, many weak entities). Weak entity set must have total participation in this identifying relationship set. name ssn cost pname age Employees Policy Dependents Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 15

16 Case study (4/4) The airport has a number of tests that are used periodically to ensure that airplanes are still airworthy. Each test has a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) test number, a name, and a maximum possible score. The FAA requires the airport to keep track of each time a given airplane is tested by a given technician using a given test. For each testing event, the information needed is the date, the number of hours the technician spent doing the test, and the score the airplane received on the test. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 16

17 What is a good data model? Characteristics of a good data model: It is easy to write correct and understandable queries elements of the model have an intuitive meaning the model is as simple as possible, but not simpler! No change is needed for minor changes in the problem domain (sufficiently abstract). If the problem domain changes significantly, it is easy to modify the data model and associated programs (flexible). Sometimes it is also necessary to consider the data model's impact on the efficiency of database operations. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 17

18 Conceptual Design Using the ER Model Design choices: Should a concept be modeled as an entity or an attribute? Should a concept be modeled as an entity or a relationship? Identifying relationships: Binary or ternary? Aggregation? Constraints in the ER Model: A of data semantics can (and should) be captured. But some constraints cannot be captured in ER diagrams. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 18

19 Entity vs. Attribute Should address be an attribute of Employees or an entity (connected to Employees by a relationship)? Depends upon the use we want to make of address information, and the semantics of the data: If we have several addresses per employee, address must be an entity (since attributes cannot be setvalued). If the structure (city, street, etc.) is important, e.g., we want to retrieve employees in a given city, address must be modeled as an entity (since attribute values are atomic). Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 19

20 Entity vs. Attribute (Contd.) Works_In4 does not allow an employee to work in a department for two or more periods. ssn name Employees from to Works_In4 did dname budget Departments Similar to the problem of wanting to record several addresses for an employee: We want to record several values of the descriptive attributes for each instance of this relationship. Accomplished by introducing new entity set, Duration. name ssn Employees from Works_In4 Duration did to dname budget Departments Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 20

21 Entity vs. Relationship First ER diagram OK if a manager gets a separate discretionary budget for each dept. ssn name Employees since dbudget did Manages2 dname budget Departments What if a manager gets a discretionary budget that covers all managed depts? Redundancy: dbudget stored for each dept managed by manager. Misleading: Suggests dbudget associated with department-mgr combination. name ssn Employees ISA Managers since Manages2 dbudget did dname budget Departments This fixes the problem! Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 21

22 Binary vs. Ternary Relationships If each policy is owned by just 1 employee, and each dependent is tied to the covering policy, first diagram is inaccurate. What are the additional constraints in the 2nd diagram? ssn ssn name Employees Bad design name Employees Covers pname Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 22 policyid Purchaser Better design Policies policyid cost pname Beneficiary Policies cost age Dependents age Dependents

23 Binary vs. Ternary Relationships (Contd.) Previous example illustrated a case when two binary relationships were better than one ternary relationship. An example in the other direction: a ternary relation Contracts relates entity sets Parts, Departments and Suppliers, and has descriptive attribute qty. No combination of binary relationships is an adequate substitute: S can-supply P, D needs P, and D deals-with S does not imply that D has agreed to buy P from S. How do we record qty? Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 23

24 Summary of Conceptual Design Conceptual design follows requirements analysis, Yields a high-level description of data to be stored ER model popular for conceptual design Constructs are expressive, close to the way people think about their applications. Basic constructs: entities, relationships, and attributes (of entities and relationships). Some additional constructs: weak entities, ISA hierarchies, and aggregation. Note: There are many variations on ER model. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 24

25 Summary of ER (Contd.) Several kinds of integrity constraints can be expressed in the ER model: key constraints, participation constraints, and overlap/covering constraints for ISA hierarchies. Some foreign key constraints are also implicit in the definition of a relationship set. Some constraints (notably, functional dependencies) cannot be expressed in the ER model. Constraints play an important role in determining the best database design for an enterprise. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 25

26 Summary of ER (Contd.) ER design is subjective. There are often many ways to model a given scenario! Analyzing alternatives can be tricky, especially for a large enterprise. Common choices include: Entity vs. attribute, entity vs. relationship, binary or n-ary relationship, whether or not to use ISA hierarchies, and whether or not to use aggregation. Ensuring good database design: resulting relational schema should be analyzed and refined further. FD information and normalization techniques are especially useful. Database Management Systems 3ed, R. Ramakrishnan and J. Gehrke 26

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